Plan International Program Unit Manager Career Opportunity in Kenya

Plan International

Job Opening: Program Unit Manager (46350)

Requisition ID 46350


Plan International is a rights-based development and humanitarian organization working for better lives for all children. We are independent of government and have no political or religious affiliation.

Our purpose is to strive for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We have been building powerful partnerships for children for more than 80 years, and are now active in more than 70 countries.

Our global strategy has a specific focus on girls, as they are often the most marginalized and most often left behind. We have committed ourselves to the ambitious target of reaching 100 million girls over 5 years, to ensure they can learn, lead, decide and thrive.

This is our contribution to reaching the sustainable development goals, and in particular the goals on gender equality.

Our organization is transforming itself to meet this enormous challenge everywhere we work. We need bold, forward-thinking and innovative individuals to lead our country operations, driving change and delivering results that will allow us to reach our target of 100 million girls.

With over 38 years of experience in implementing its programme, Plan International Kenya (PIK) mainly operates in 11 geographical areas; Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Tharaka-Nithi, Siaya, Kwale, Kilifi, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Marsabit and Tana River.


Plan International Kenya’s (PIK) strategic goal in the next five years is to end teenage pregnancies and end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence against adolescent girls and young women.

We aim to help create an enabling environment where girls and young women are safe, valued, equally cared for, and have equal opportunities.

PIK will contribute to the global strategy by aiming to reach directly approximately 2.75 million (children, including girls and young women over the period of the strategy 2022-2026 and to reach additional beneficiaries through its interventions.


The Program Unit Manager provides overall managerial accountability for the Kisumu office and its programs. The position will oversee the development and implementation of gender transformative programs in line with country and global strategies.

The role will directly supervise 3-8 staff in ensuring program design, implementation, quality and effectiveness throughout the project cycle while building their capabilities to deliver on program excellence and influencing agenda.

The incumbent will provide oversight of all projects, sponsorship programs and implementation of the programs and sponsorship work through partnerships.

The Program Unit Manager reports to the Director of Programs, Implementation and Quality and will provide overall Program Unit team leadership and strategic engagement at the County level.

The role will support the team in overall program quality and effectiveness throughout the project cycle.

S/he will be engaged in building better partnerships that drive our localization agenda as a country office and offer strategic leadership to manage partnerships & relationship with key stakeholders at county and sub-county levels, while ensuring alignment to Plan Kenya’s Country Strategy and Plan International’s Global purpose.

S/he will contribute to the development of concepts and proposals while contributing to the Country Strategy fundraising ambition. The job holder will manage multi-million-dollar programs and must be abreast with donor trends, regulations, environment, reporting and donor retention.


Reports to: Director of Program Implementation and Quality

Direct reports – Project Officers; Project Managers/Coordinators dependent on the scale of grants, Procurement, Senior Administration and Logistics Coordinator, Senior Finance & Grants Accountant, ICT Officer, Senior M&E Coordinator and Sponsorship Data Clerk (matrix reporting where applicable as guided through the organogram).

Key relationships


  • Business development unit
  • Technical Advisors
  • Functional departments Heads at KCO
  • MERL team
  • Program Unit (PU) Managers, Project Managers and PU staff
  • Extended Country Management Team members


  • Government Departments
  • INGOs/ NGOs
  • Strategic Partners and Implementing Partners
  • Civil Society Organisations

Level of contact with children and young people

  • High level: Frequent interaction with children and young people


  • Based in a typical office environment
  • Position is based at Program Unit Level with frequent travel to the field locations of operations.


Planning, strategy and policy (15%)

  • Provide strategic leadership and support project teams to develop quality project outlines in line with the Country and Global Strategy and the Program Influencing & Quality Policy (PIQP).
  • Model partnerships: Lead in the integration and effective implementation of the Plan Policy on Building Better Partnerships (BBP) in alignment with Plan Kenya’s Country Strategy on ensuring the creation of an equal, systematic, positive, and process-driven approach to partner engagement and relationship management;
  • Contribute to development of minimum standards, technical frameworks and strategies on Building Better Partnerships.
  • Provide strategic leadership on BBP policy, its implementation and contribute to the ongoing research, development and implementation as well as dissemination and sharing of best practices and innovative approaches
  • Develop and annually update a partners’ database on information relating to Partners’ and, Donors’, individual requirements and goals, and such other key details as are relevant to the development and maintenance of those partnerships;
  • Contribute to drafting of partnership agreements and/or contractual documents while ensuring the tenets of BBP and localisation are an integral part of Plan Kenya’s partnership agreements;
  • Influencing stakeholders and duty bearers to the enactment and enforcement of policies relevant to Plan work.
  • Ensure correct and appropriate branding and media coverage at all times while working in contact with the Communications Manager and Country Director.

Project design, planning & Implementation at PU level (20%)

  • Provide leadership in program design, while ensuring meaningful stakeholder (girls, boys, youth, communities and partners) engagement, to inform priorities of program participants in the project design, implementation and evaluation
  • Enhance realization of children and girls’ rights through design and implementation of gender transformative program interventions.
  • Provide technical support to partners for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of quality and innovative programming for all sub granting.
  • Provide oversight to all sub granted partners/CBOs on the management and delivery of both sponsorship and program work against the work plans.
  • Provide leadership in phase-out management processes while mobilizing and putting in place structures and systems that support a seamless PIK exit.
  • Hold periodic programme reviews with partners to monitor achievement of the outcomes and budget utilization as per the costed detailed implementation plans.
  • In liaison with the partners, continually identify opportunities for innovation and scale up of project initiatives to inform PIK fundraising efforts.
  • Mainstream safeguarding of children and young persons involved in all the Program and Sponsorship work through the partners

Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Reporting (10%)

  • Establish and monitor the progress of all program and sponsorship deliverables by implementing partners and undertake corrective actions at project implementation level.
  • Develop quality and timely reports in accordance with Organization guidelines and procedures.
  • Promote evidence-based programming through data and information analysis and dissemination.
  • With support of M&E, enhance learning and knowledge management through documentation and profiling of Plan’s work.
  • Ensure the M&E and Program team work with the Implementing partners at the PU level to monitor and provide accurate and timely data on the status of the project quality and reach including capturing data on the sponsored child/families each month
  • Put in place and implement a PU based outcome and impact monitoring process
  • In collaboration with Monitoring Evaluation Research and Learning team, support in knowledge management and learning on partnership strengthening as well as ensure joint monitoring initiatives together with the implementing partners;

Partnership management and networking (10%)

  • Responsible for leading in partner assessments and working jointly with the partners to develop customized plans, that include a monitoring and evaluation plan for organizational improvement;
  • Act as the liaison and maintain cordial working between the organization and the County leadership with the various government departments PIK works with.
  • Represent PIK in relevant County level cluster meetings and promote its development agenda.
  • Promote effective working relations with county and sub-county stakeholders
  • Promote active engagement and participation of boys, girls, men, women and communities in all project activities.
  • Engage and influence key duty bearers towards realization of children and girl’s rights at the county level
  • Actively identify and engage youth and girls led movements in PIK’s operation areas in projects and campaigns
  • Map potential implementing and influencing partners for sustained Business Development

Financial Responsibility (10%)

  • The incumbent will have oversight of all financial aspects of projects and program as the primary budget holder for PU allocated budgets.
  • The incumbent will act within the provided delegated authority for all financial related processes
  • S/he will track projects and sponsorship activity budgets disbursed to Implementing partners (IPs) during implementation phases and report on any variances to relevant project/program managers and the Country Office finance manager.
  • Monitor implementing partners expenditures to promote prudent budget management.
  • Support the development and execution close out plans and budgets for the PU
  • Ensure compliance with all grant funded projects, donor policies, agreements, requirements, contracts.

Capacity Building and People Management (10%)

  • Lead the day to day running of the PU taking into consideration safety and security of the PU staff, leave and general welfare of all staff and liaise with the relevant KCO Heads of Departments for support
  • Embrace overall responsibility of the assets of the organization at PU level
  • Provide strategic leadership that inspires the Program Unit team and the partnerships network towards the realization of PIK purpose and goal.
  • Promote team cohesiveness and integration at the PU level, dealing with conflict resolution in a timely way.
  • Manage the performance, mentorship and coaching for all direct reports and dotted line reports
  • Liaise with HR for any staff development issues as per the training needs analysis for the PU

Logistics admin and procurement oversight (10%)

  • Support the development and usage of procurement plans in execution of PU programs through the sub granted partners.
  • Oversight on asset, fleet, office and inventory management
  • In close collaboration with the Senior Logistics, Procurement and Administration Co-ordinator, ensure smooth operations for effective and efficient implementation of program and sponsorship activities at the PU
  • Development and submission of administration related reports.

Risk Management (5%)

  • Provide leadership in risk mapping and documentation.
  • Consultatively with PU and CO stakeholders put mitigation measures for programme risks at the PU
  • level
  • Continually monitor the risks environment and act as appropriate.
  • Ensure all PU staff understand PU risks and related responsibilities.

Safeguarding Children and Young People (Safeguarding) and Gender Equality and Inclusion (GEI) (5%)

  • Understands and puts into practice the responsibilities under Safeguarding and Gender Equality and Inclusion policies and Plan International’s Code of Conduct (CoC), ensuring that concerns are reported and managed in accordance with the appropriate procedures.
  • Leads the orientation of programme staff to ensure that they are properly inducted on and understands their role in upholding Plan International’s safeguarding and GEI policies;
  • Ensures that Plan International’s global policies for Safeguarding Children and Young People and Gender Equality and Inclusion are fully embedded in project design, during implementation and as principles applied in day-to-day work of Programme team;
  • Ensures that Plan Kenya contributes to Plan International’s global efforts to ensure safeguarding and GEI, including making sure that relevant reporting and data are submitted.

Other duties (5%)

Any other duties as assigned by the line manager.


  • Setting and communicating ambitious but realistic work goals and priorities, explaining how these contribute to Plan International’s purpose.
  • Setting high standards for self and others’ behaviour, inside and outside work. Championing our values and commitment to rights, gender equality and safeguarding. Supporting the health, well-being and both physical and psychological safety of our staff, including their safety to speak out.
  • Holding self and others to account for what we have agreed, dealing with poor performance quickly, firmly and constructively.
  • Creating a positive team spirit, helping people work well together, to reflect and continuously improve the efficiency and quality of what we do.
  • Collaborating with team members, colleagues and partners in finding creative solutions to problems by sharing information, experience and ideas and actively seeking their input.
  • Motivating and developing others by taking an interest, giving constructive feedback and praise, ensuring they are properly trained and helping them develop their potential.
  • Positive about change and supporting others in adjusting to it, helping them understand.


  • Understands Plan International in Context, including its purpose, values, and global strategy, and can communicate these to varied audiences, including how Plan International will deliver on its objectives through the theory of change.
  • Manages legal and reputational risk including risk assessment, communication, risk management and reporting in full compliance with Plan International’s core risk-related standards (Child and
  • Youth safeguarding and Protection, Gender equality and inclusion, Counter Fraud Safety and Security.
  • Managing activities and resources including skills in strategic thinking, planning and organising, financial planning and monitoring, and programme and project management, including MERL principles and procedures for cost allocation and cost recovery.
  • Managing people and information including skills in assessment and coaching, evidence-based management, communication skills, both speaking and writing, and digital working, including personal digital skills.
  • Programme and project management: -Aware of the programmes that Plan International delivers directly and through partner organisations. -Aware of the programme and project management procedures relevant to their role.; -Complies with financial procedures and controls relevant to their role; -Seeks opportunities to reflect on and learn from all work.
  • Digital working: Identifies ways to use digital to improve the effectiveness of work activities.
  • Understands how digital enablers can contribute to achieving Plan International’s purpose. Utilises the digital tools available in line with privacy and safeguarding guidelines.
  • Evidence-based management: Understands the importance of high-quality data and the implications of poor data. Understands what data Plan International needs to inform decision making. Interprets a range of sources to inform evidence-based decisions relevant to their role.


Qualifications/ experience essential:


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences, Project Management, Development studies and related disciplines.
  • At least 7 Years’ experience in relevant field preferable in management of multiple projects
  • Demonstrable experience in effective partnership engagement and management
  • A minimum 3 Years in a leadership/managerial role
  • Demonstrable experience managing projects with budgets over and above US$1 million preferably across various thematic areas.
  • Demonstrable experience in project cycle management
  • Effective team management experience
  • Thorough knowledge of programming methodologies.
  • Demonstrable experience in Gender Transformative programming
  • Sound understanding of integrated and rights-based programming.
  • Willingness to sign and adhere to the Plan International Kenya policy on safeguarding children and young people.
  • Good Interpersonal / Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Results oriented
  • Strategic planning skills
  • Teamwork and Cooperation
  • Analytical skills
  • Risk management


  • Master’s Degree in relevant discipline/s
  • Relevant computer skills
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Skills
  • Gender Transformative programming skills
  • Knowledge in child sponsorship programs

Languages required

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in Kiswahili and English.


  • In-depth knowledge of gender and inclusion and global/local development issues, with particular knowledge in girls’ rights and child rights, feminist movements, the key actors and institutions, and the power dynamics involved.
  • Mastery of key gender inequalities, gaps, barriers and opportunities at the national, regional and global level and gender and inclusion in programs, and especially for children and girls.
  • In-depth understanding of the policies, processes, institutions and organizations that shape the development and humanitarian context and standards within Kenya.
  • Understanding of the implications of working with a rights-based approach to development and is able to analyze the situation of children’s and particularly girls’ rights in his/her working context
  • In-depth knowledge on different types of partnerships and civil society strengthening and capacity building. Understanding issues, principles and strategies and their root causes and working with
  • Plan’s principles and a range of strategies and approaches to improve outcomes


  • Ability to lead project managers and staff to design and implement evidence-based solutions for gender transformative programmes, and to provide monitoring and quality assurance support to the programme areas.
  • Ability to apply a range of gender and inclusion analysis tools and conduct high-quality and nuanced gender and inclusion analysis from a child rights perspective.
  • Ability to influence power holders about the need for and benefits of addressing gender equality and inclusion, including being able to offer a range of evidence-based solutions.
  • Mastery of the ability to analyze the social and political structures, dynamics and power relations that enable/exclude girls and boys from enjoying the fulfilment of their rights and equality.
  • Excellent relationship building skills – networking, influencing and stakeholder management skills
  • Ability to identify, analyze and monitor diverse, relevant external actors to work with and understand the purpose and implications of working with them.
  • Experience in developing strong, equal and robust partnership contracts or experience in strengthening civil society
  • Experience in capacity building
  • Hand in experience and skill in result based MERL system


  • Role model of Plan International values and behaviors both internally and externally.
  • Engages sensitively with community members on issues of gender equality and inclusion, demonstrating an understanding of the local culture and context.
  • Promotes equality, including gender equality, inclusion and girls’ empowerment in Plan’s work and in its work with partners
  • Apply participatory influencing methodologies both internally and externally
  • The ability to build collaborative working relationships
  • Ability to influence
  • Uses creativity to challenge the norm and promote innovation and thinks and acts for the wider organization – linking partnership opportunities with the context of the wider organizational strategy
  • Communicates effectively at a high level and with a range of appropriate styles for different audiences
  • Builds capability through knowledge sharing, networking, mentoring, coaching and advocates the importance of knowledge management


  • Understands fundamental issues and root causes: Understands the development and needs of our Primary Impact Groups from birth to adulthood, the root causes of the issues affecting them, and the key actors most relevant to their interests and therefore to our work.
  • Understands key programme and influence principles: Understands the rationale for and practical implications of being rights-based, gender transformative, participatory, working in partnership; evidence-based and working to strengthen civil society.
  • Understands a range of strategies and approaches: Understands approaches to programme/project logic, trends in own and related fields of work and a range of effective strategies, approaches and practices.
  • Analyses issues and evidence in context – Builds the evidence base by analysing issues in their context, using appropriate methods and relevant data sources
  • Shapes strategy, policy, standards and plans clearly aligned with relevant priorities and stakeholder interests and based on rigorous internal and external evidence
  • Designs effective programmes and projects with clear and measurable objectives contributing to overall outcomes, appropriately resourced, mainstreaming gender and inclusion and participatory approaches, and engaging with and influencing relevant actors and stakeholders.
  • Supports partnering and resource mobilisation by developing mutually beneficial partnership relationships and making a significant contribution to writing proposals relevant to own field(s)/specialism(s) of work.
  • Assesses effectiveness to improve evidence and quality by designing appropriate measures and assessment methods, using on-going monitoring and assessment to improve project design and implementation, initiating research and conducting evaluation, assessing the results and sharing learning.
  • Builds capability in own field(s)/specialism(s) of work by coaching colleagues and partners, sharing knowledge in networks and communities of practice, leading technical learning and development activities and embedding stakeholder capability building into programme and project design.
  • Adapts work to context: Focuses work appropriately to its geographical scope; rapidly assesses and responds to the relevant context and changes in the fragility of settings

Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the very heart of everything that Plan International stands for.

We want Plan International to reflect the diversity of the communities we work with, offering equal opportunities to everyone regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Plan International is based on a culture of inclusivity and we strive to create a workplace environment that ensures every team, in every office, in every country, is rich in diverse people, thoughts, and ideas.

We foster an organisational culture that embraces our commitment to racial justice, gender equality, girls’ rights and inclusion.

Plan International believes that in a world where children face so many threats of harm, it is our duty to ensure that we, as an organisation, do everything we can to keep children safe. This means that we have particular responsibilities to children that we come into contact with and we must not contribute in any way to harming or placing children at risk.

A range of pre-employment checks will be undertaken in conformity with Plan International’s Safeguarding Children and Young People policy. Plan International also participates in the Inter Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. In line with this scheme we will request information from applicants previous employers about any findings of sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and/or sexual harassment during employment, or incidents under investigation when the applicant left employment. By submitting an application, the job applicant confirms their understanding of these recruitment procedures.

Disclaimer: Plan International is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate applicants on any basis. We also do not charge Job seekers any fees at any point of the recruitment process.

CLICK HERE to apply online.

Female candidates are highly encouraged to apply for this position.